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Making Music with Samuel Adler

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Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

March 8, 2002

Making Music with Samuel Adler

Composer Samuel Adler

As part of the weeklong Five College Composer-in-Residence program, which begins March 11, MHC students will gather in Pratt Hall's Warbeke Room March 14 at 11 am for a class with Samuel Adler, one of this country's best-known and most prolific contemporary composers. During his residency, Adler will give lectures and demonstrations and take part in classes and seminars on all five campuses. His residency will conclude with a March 14 concert featuring an all-Adler program performed by faculty members and students of the Five Colleges. The concert will be at 8 pm in Pratt Hall.

During the MHC class, Adler will focus on several of his works, as well as on the state of music in the latter part of the twentieth century and into the future. He may address his background in Jewish liturgical music and its presence in his works. A number of MHC musicians will participate in the concert. Performing Adler's Violin Sonata No. 2 (1968) will be Associate Professors of Music Linda Laderach and Larry Schipull. Pianist and MHC Associate Professors of music Gary Steigerwalt will play "Thy Song Expands My Spirit," written by Adler as a tribute to Aaron Copland on the latter's eightieth birthday. Steigerwalt will also accompany mezzo-soprano Marjorie L. Melnick '72 and oboist Frederic Cohen, professor of music at UMass Amherst, in "Three Songs about the Times of Man" (1954), "Lovesong" (1989), and "Three Psalms" (1987). The MHC Glee Club, directed by Hammond-Douglass Professor of Music Catharine Melhorn, will present "The Ballad of the Dog," an excerpt from Adler's "A Whole Bunch of Fun." A reception will follow the performance.

"As a student of Copland and Walter Piston, an educator of more than thirty years at Eastman and Juilliard, an author of widely used texts on orchestration and musicianship, and a composer of more than four hundred published works, Adler is the quintessential ‘American' composer of the latter half of the twentieth century," said MHC Assistant Professor of Music David Sanford.

Born in Germany in 1928, Adler came to the United States in 1939. He earned a bachelor's degree at Boston University and a master's degree at Harvard University and has received honorary degrees from Harvard and several other institutions. While serving in the United States Army, Adler founded the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra, whose achievements garnered him the Army Medal of Honor. He is the recipient of many other honors, including induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Currently on the faculty of the Juilliard School of Music, Adler served for many years as professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music and chairman of the composition department. Prior to that, he held positions at North Texas State University; Temple Emanu-El, Dallas, Texas; and Dallas Lyric Theater. He has also served as guest composer or conductor at more than three hundred universities and colleges worldwide.

Adler's published works include five operas, six symphonies, eight string quartets; eight concerti; many shorter works for orchestra, wind ensembles, bands, chamber groups; and a considerable body of choral music and songs. His compositions have been performed by major organizations around the world and have been released by numerous major labels.

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